KS2 -Week 1

Phew!!! We have all survived a most peculiar week, one which has rocked the normal rhythms of all our lives and we’d like to say Parents and Children, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

We have thrown “Google Classroom” at you, and Parents (and children), you have all done amazingly well!!!

The chat between the children has been wonderful and they have all remembered their on-line etiquette. There have been many wonderful examples of helping each other out and displays of good manners, well done children.

The enthusiasm from the children for work has also been wonderful. It is scheduled for 9 am each morning and answers to the day’s work for 8 pm. We ask you Parents, to please check the work, we will also be checking, but we will be focusing on a particular subject area or set of questions daily. We will send private messages when there are issues, please reciprocate if you are having issues.

The quantity and quality of work uploaded has blown us away. We have shared here some of the Art and Science work completed by P5 and P6 year Groups yesterday. If you’ve been wondering why rainbows are popping up in windows, they are being placed there to spread joy, in these otherwise dark days. We hope you enjoy our display.

We included a short survey in yesterday’s activities for feedback on activities to date. Thank you to all those children and Parents who completed this, (for anyone who hasn’t there is still time and we welcome your feedback for moving forward).

Finally Parents, C2K passwords have a security element which means that they have to be changed every 120 days, pupils did change them after Christmas but some may in the coming days needed changed again. A message will pop up on screen, to prompt this and it must be done on a PC. If there are any issues please email us as we can change them remotely.

Thank- you, have a lovely weekend, stay safe.

P Mc Coy,  P Mulkerns , C Crawley,  K Mc Ardle





Free School Meals

Dear Parents/Guardians

We believe from Posts on the “Education Authority Twitter Account”, that they will be making payments of £2.70/child /day for all families currently eligible for Free School Meals. Payments will be made directly into bank accounts on a fortnightly basis and will continue over the Easter Holidays. For those families for whom the Education Authority does not have bank details they will send a text to you to direct you to their website where there will be a form to complete. Please be aware with phone coverage in our area, texts may not reach you and you may need to follow up directly with the Education Authority.

For anyone finding their circumstances may have changed below is the link for downloading the form for applying for Free School Meals.


Parents- Key Workers

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Recently, the Minister for Education, Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, made a statement outlining that over the coming days and weeks the impact of the spread of the Covid -19 will be extremely significant for everyone in our community.

The overriding priority is to reduce the spread of the virus. Using social distancing and effective hygiene are the best ways to do this. This is why Churches, Schools, Community and Sporting Organisations are closed.

You also can play your part: limit unnecessary journeys, avoid crowded spaces, practice good hand washing hygiene, spend precious time with your children and keep in contact with your child’s teacher as they endeavour to support  you through home packs and online activities as has been previously communicated.

At this time, we are mindful of the additional pressures and expectations on the medical and caring professions. As a Community, we will seek to support front line service workers: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, etc to enable them to support the most vulnerable people. To that end it is necessary to support identified Key Workers.  (See link below to the Northern Ireland Department of Education website, for more information)

We will observe the advice regarding social distancing. Keeping the numbers of children and staff very low and limiting contact between them as much as possible. Whilst open as normal, 9 to 3.00 to facilitate Key Workers, we will not be able to operate anything like a “normal” school day. There will be no school transport and a packed lunch will be required.  We already have a significant reduction in staffing and this will probably continue to get worse over time.

It is important that we are made aware of the number of children of Key Workers who will be attending school tomorrow, Monday,23rd March. Please email this evening by 8 pm to the address below, with the following information:

  • Parent’s Name
  • Names of Children + Classes
  • Parent’s Occupation
  • Contact Details for all with Parental Responsibility
  • Pick up arrangements for home time


I would advise that sending children to school could potentially facilitate the transfer of the virus so only use the service if you would otherwise be dependent on Grandparents or vulnerable adults to look after your children.

I would also ask that all who are designated as “Key Workers” continue to lobby for COVID-19 virus testing to facilitate the management of our response to the virus.

In the interim keep safe and thank you for your continued support in these most challenging times.

P Mc Donnell





KS2 Parents

Dear KS2 Parents/Guardians,

We are all set up and ready to go! Classwork should hit work stations at 9 am tomorrow. Judging from the online activity there are some eager beavers out there, we hope this enthusiasm keeps up!

There are 2 areas within Google Classroom: the Stream where pupils can comment/chat with each other and Classwork where assignments are posted.

We have worked hard to keep the process and instructions as clear as possible,  work is in the main, a continuation of what pupils have been doing and are familiar with. This will hopefully make things easier for everyone. Everything that is needed is included as attachments, as we have no idea who has what books in school bags.

On Friday we produced and uploaded to the Stream our own “Google Classroom User Guide” in the form of a Google slideshow, with screen shots of steps to follow. Pupils all have access to the full suite of Goggle Apps through their My School Log in.

We expect there may be hitches to start with, but pupils have all experience of using Google Classroom and this is a good opportunity to practice independence and thinking skills. We will monitor and make adjustments if needed as we go along.

Whilst this may be a novelty with pupils, we are all too fully aware that in the grand scheme of things, school work isn’t high on anyone’s agenda at the moment. So please Parents/Guardians don’t stress over this, (it may prove to be a useful distraction), we want you, your children and wider families to be safe, that is and has to be the first priority.

Lastly, we are forever grateful to the Parents, friends and wider community who assisted and supported our ICT fund raising a number of years ago, your support at that time has placed us in the position we are today, ready and able  to launch this approach to teaching and learning.

Keep safe and well,

God Bless

P Mulkerns, C Crawley, P Mc Coy K Mc Ardle




Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

Today is a very special day because we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.  So a big shout out to our new pupil, Anton.  Anton has only been with us a short while but we have already fallen for that big smile, inquisitive face and loving charm.  Traditionally on this day we wear odd socks to school….. so if any of Anton’s classmates want to share pictures of them wearing odd socks – please do! School  settings doesn’t permit us to share photos in the comments. We  might not be together for a while but we can still stay connected. 😊 Enjoy your day Anton.

Pick up of Work Packs

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Teachers have been preparing homework packs and information for our Foundation and KS1 classes, (P1to P4.) these along with new exercise books for KS2 (P5 to P7) will be available for pick up in the Assembly Hall, tomorrow, 20th of March.

Please to protect your families and ours, observe the following protocol:

  • Times for pick up are staggered. We have 189 families to accommodate, the greatest number of oldest in families are in KS2, so please come at the time of your youngest child. We have put a lot of thought into this and we hope that this will keep numbers to as safe a level as possible, we know we can rely on your support in this.
  • When you come please pick up for all your children
  • Entrance will be by the front door of the school. The main school carpark will be open for parking.
  • Exit will be directly from the Assembly Hall to the carpark, via the door opening from the Assembly Hall.
  • We will be restricting the number entering the building at any one time, so you may be asked to wait.
  • Staff will be present to assist; but work is laid out on tables labelled by teacher’s name.
  • Please do not bring children, practise social distancing, i.e. keep 2 metres apart if waiting. Please be advised that this is not an opportunity to speak to any teacher about your child or the current situation. In the interests of health & safety you must enter and exit the hall as quickly as possible.
  • If you are unable to pick- up, please arrange for someone to do this for you.

Times: (Plan your visit on your youngest child)

P1- 9.30-10.15

P2+ P3- 10.30-11.15

P4 +P5 – 11.30-12.15

P6 +P7- 12.30-  1.15

Please continue to check the school website for updates.

On behalf of all the school staff, we wish all our families a safe confinement during your stay at home.

Peter Mc Donnell



Letter from Principal


Dear Parents/ Guardians

This is a communication all of you have been expecting as this gives notice that school is now closed. I don’t know how long this is going to be for but we will keep you informed.

This is a very serious but necessary measure in an attempt to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

It is vitally important that everyone clearly understands the reason for school closures. This is to limit social contact with a view to reducing the spread of the infection. For this measure to be effective it is absolutely necessary that children are not mixing with others, including neighbours and friends, while out of school. This is not a case of been given an unexpected holiday but a measure which will place huge demands on all of us. We all have older relatives or someone who has an underlying health issue, or a neighbour who may be vulnerable. We have a duty of care towards all such people in our community.

It is also important that you speak with your children and reassure them of the safety in following protocols that have been communicated by Public Health Agency (PHA). Kidshealth.org Coronavirus(COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child

The teachers have made preparations for the distribution of work activities for all pupils in the school. (See the school website this  feeds automatically to our Facebook page)

I want to stress that the completion of school work is secondary to the health and well-being of your families and it should not take precedence over the demands that other restrictions may bring.

The resources available are a mixture of online work activities from familiar educational websites and pupils own workbooks. The nature of the activities is in keeping with the specific demands of the curriculum designed for your child/children.

We would recommend that reading requires daily practice and this is an appropriate activity for pupils across all year groups.

Pupils in KS2 can access activities posted on the Google Classroom Platform which they are all currently using. Work activities will be added to Google Classroom by KS2 teachers.

All children will be issued an exercise book for recording work during the isolation period, but this is NOT to be returned to school after the spell at home. Likewise, all other booklets must NOT be returned to school to avoid cross contamination. Work will not be collected or corrected by teachers, (KS2 will also upload answers for work), this is entirely at the parents’ discretion.

Further communications from the school to parents will be posted on our school website and Facebook page.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your public and privately expressed support for us at this time. It is an extremely challenging time with the prospect of even greater hardship lying ahead. The staff of St. Mary’s sincerely wish you all the greatest resilience, good health, firm faith and the belief in the power of hope for the time that is in front of us.

God Bless


Peter McDonnell





Parents/Guardians of P5, P6 + P7 Pupils

Dear Parents/Guardians of P5, P6 + P7 Pupils

We are using these days to prepare work/activities for our classes. These we will be uploading to each classes’ Google Classroom, on a daily basis from Monday.

Last Friday all KS2 pupils took home a sheet with login and password details to check their home access, we know some have been successful because we can see their online activity, well done! However, there are still a number who have not yet accessed.

Parents we ask that today or tomorrow you please ask for the sheet, (it may still be buried in a school bag), and take the time to sit with your child and check their access. Sometimes Homepages etc. can look different when accessed outside of school and this can cause confusion for the child.

We will be in school over the next two days and are happy to answer questions or help if we can with access, issues. We have given our email addresses below and over the next 2 days we would like to get any access issues sorted, please email and if we can possibly help, we will.

We will upload tomorrow to the Google Classrooms a suggested timetable, with materials and resources uploaded from Monday for all KS2 classes- P5, P5/6, P6 and P7.

Details for other Year Groups will follow tomorrow.

Stay safe and well everyone.

KS2 Teachers;







Dear Parent/Guardian

With still no directive from the Northern Ireland Executive, I have in  consultation with the Board of Governors, decided to move training days which were to take place later this year, to Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th of this week. Staff will use this time to prepare work for pupils.

This means school will not be open for pupils the remainder of this week. 

Apologies for the late notice but I am left with no option, the Health and Safety of pupils and staff is paramount.

P Mc Donnell


Notice to Parents/Guardians

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I feel compelled to inform you that the stance taken re closure by the NI Executive has not changed since my last communication with you, this continues to place school staff in a very difficult position.

As previously communicated I do not have the authority to definitively close the school until told to do so by the relevant authorities. I can only reiterate if you feel uncomfortable with the prospect of continuing to send your children to school and compromise any underlying health issues which may exist within your family circle then please keep your children at home. There will be no absence recorded against any child whose parents have decided to opt out of school at this worrying time.

I will continue to keep you informed if and when things change.

Peter Mc Donnell